Prep Coach: Keeling Should Stay

Bloomington, Ind. – Xavier Keeling has announced his intentions to leave the IU program at semester's end, but a couple of people are hoping to talk him out of leaving Bloomington.

Bloomington, Ind. – Xavier Keeling has announced his intentions to leave the IU program at semester's end, but a couple of people are hoping to talk him out of leaving Bloomington.

Keeling's high school coach from Hunstville, Alabama's J.O. Johnson H.S., Kenneth Betts, said he talked with IU Assistant Coach Ray McCallum Wednesday morning, and the two are hoping to convince the 6-6, 230-pound freshman to remain with the Hoosiers.

"(McCallum) expressed that they really need Xavier in the program," Betts said about his conversation this morning with McCallum. "My understanding and hope is that Xavier will be there next year.

"They want Xavier as part of that program, and I want Xavier a part of that program."

Keeling played sparingly as a true freshman, appearing in 22 of IU's 33 games and averaging 1.8 points and 8.2 minutes/game. But after playing 25 minutes in IU's Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal round loss to Illinois, Keeling played a combined one minute in the Hoosiers' two NCAA tourney games.

Betts said he's not sure if Keeling's reasoning for departing is because of playing time or a desire to be closer to home, but he's insistent that IU is still the best place for him.

"With a kid, you never know what they're thinking," Betts said. "Sometimes kids change their majors and they end up wishing they hadn't. I think right now he needs to listen to his mom, who I think really wants him there. The coaches want him there, and I think it's the right thing to do."

Betts also thinks if you're a college basketball player, there aren't many places better to play than Bloomington.

"Indiana is better than anywhere in the south, even on their best day, as a place to be basketball wise," Betts said. "If it's Alabama football, you're a linebacker, I'd say knock yourself out. But it's basketball. At Indiana, you got a chance to win (an NCAA title) or play in it, and you can't ask for anymore than that if you're a college basketball player."


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